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36 cm / blade 24,6 cm / thickness central ridge 9mm
wootz steel, steel
Persia, first half 19th century
first half, 19th century
A nice 'khanjar' dagger dating from the Qajar era. The Qajar era is often regarded as a 'revival' dynasty. The Qajars, nostalgic for the glorious times of the Safavids, spurred art production and crafts to bring their rich heritage back to life and thus fight the decline that had been going on for some generations. The early Qajar era still produced quality objects faithfull to their original designs while the later period emphasized on mass production with objects lacking the original craftsmanship or quality objects ecclectic in design and decoration.
Our example can be attributed to the first era both in regard to design and craftsmanship. The 'I'-shaped hilt comprises of three steel plates welded together and adorned with chiseled cartouches featuring 11 talismanic calligraphic inscriptions. The floral 'gold' inlay decorations are mostly intact with a minor piece missing near the base of the hilt. The blade forged from wootz steeel and has a pronounced central ridge and the outer edges are contoured resulting in a beautiful geometry. The base of the blade with symmetric high relief blank cartouche with lobbed contours. Condition is very good. No scabbard.
An example with a comparable blade in the Metropolitan Museum, accession number: 36.25.781a, b , Bequest of George C. Stone, 1935.
Other notable Khanjar daggers with similar blades in the V&A Museum.
Museo Poldi Pezzoli Milan
P. Holstein, 'Contribution à l'Etude des Armes Orientales', volume II, Plate LX., fig. 242
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